Pesticide misuse creates a public liability breach in NSW

Date: Jan 27, 2017

When a company is involved with dangerous chemicals or substances – whether they’re using, transporting or storing them –  it’s essential that they follow the appropriate regulations. If they do something wrong and expose staff, clients or the public to dangerous chemicals, it could prompt public liability claims from those affected.

A recent media release from the NSW Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) illustrated a case where a farmer used pesticides despite not being licensed to do so. While there was no harm reported, either to the farmer or other personnel on site, it’s a reminder of how important it is to follow regulations for the use of these chemicals.

How a farmer used pesticides incorrectly

Part of a company’s duty of care to the public involves ensuring staff are trained and licensed for any equipment or materials they rely on to perform their role. In a recent case in the Sunraysia region in NSW, a citrus farmer broke this duty of care in a number of ways when using pesticides on a site he was working at.

The fines he received from the EPA were for a number of different infringements. The man received two $400 dollar fines for using pesticides contrary to instructions issued by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), and for not being qualified to use them at all. He was also fined $750 for not keeping records of the pesticides he used on site.

According to Darren Wallett, EPA Acting Manager Regional Operations South West, the fines reflect the danger associated with incorrect pesticide use, citing the strict regulations that govern their usage in Australia. He noted that users need to work to all conditions outlined in the permits the APVMA supplies.

“Pesticide users also have a responsibility to keep records of spraying activities and store pesticides appropriately,” he began. “Records should include information on the area of land sprayed, the time and weather conditions of spraying and the type and volume of pesticides used.”

“This incident is a reminder to all, if you are using pesticides make sure you are trained and clearly understand the rules that apply to the pesticide that you are using.”

If you’ve been injured or suffered health complications as a result of a company’s negligence, it’s important you seek fair compensation with the help of specialist lawyers. To find out more, get in touch with the team at Gerard Malouf and Partners today.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.